Last month, a walk on the beach turned into a once-in-a-lifetime experience for two brothers — leaving everyone involved feeling lucky to be in the right place at the right time.
Avid fishermen Noah and Jacob Thompson were enjoying a family vacation in Mexico when they headed out to do some fly fishing off of Baja's East Cape. While driving to their favorite spot on the beach, the two men spotted a shimmering creature stranded on the sand about a hundred feet ahead of them.
“We noticed it from a distance as we were cruising up on our four-wheeler,” Noah Thompson told The Dodo. “My brother was off the quad before I could even stop it and had his hands on his head screaming — he knew exactly what it was.”
Jacob identified the animal, who was about 8 or 9 feet long, as a juvenile oarfish. Not much is known about this mysterious sea creature, who is thought to primarily reside at depths around 3,300 feet and can grow to be up to 56 feet long.
The Thompsons had certainly never seen anything like it before.
“It was a very strange creature,” Thompson said. “It's easy to see now where legends and lore of sea monsters really come from. It was, in every essence of the word, a true sea monster. I can't imagine bumping into a bigger one.”
Rarer still was the fact that the oarfish was alive.
Most oarfish found on the surface of the sea or along the shores are dead or dying, the markings on their scaleless bodies fading quickly. But, from the brightness of the oarfish's iridescence, he had seemingly beached himself only moments before the Thompsons arrived.
"It was still very much alive and its mouth was moving," Thompson said, "gasping for breath.”
Jacob took it upon himself to return the oarfish to the water, attempting to revive him.
“My brother very carefully picked him up and set him back in the water and we took a few photos,” Thompson said. “We take a lot of pride in respecting and caring for the fish that we catch, so we really wanted to see this thing swim away if it was possible.”
After a few minutes in the water, the fish stabilized himself, and slowly began to swim toward deeper water. “In my mind, I would like to think that we did our part," Thompson said. "And, hopefully, that fish made it back to where it came from and is still swimming around.”
The brothers hadn’t caught what they were after — but as the oarfish swam away, that didn’t seem to matter so much anymore.
“It was a pretty incredible experience to be able to share with my little brother,” Thompson added. “I'll never forget that moment.”
Original post here.